The Warren Court (1953–69)

Freedom of Expression

How did Chief Justice Warren rule in the flag-burning case?

Chief Justice Earl Warren dissented in Street v. New York. Warren believed that the record in the case established that Street was tried for his physical act of burning the flag, not for his words casting disrespect upon the flag. Warren also wrote that the physical act of burning the flag is not protected by the First Amendment: “I believe that the States and the Federal Government do have the power to protect the flag from acts of desecration and disgrace.”


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